Invasive Shrub & Vine Management Project

Mass Audubon has implemented control measures for non-native invasive shrubs and vines on numerous wildlife sanctuaries, all of which were used for landscaping prior to being banned in Massachusetts in 2009.

These plants typically produce copious amounts of fruit that attract birds, which then spread the seeds across the landscape. As a result, invasive shrubs and vines are common on many Mass Audubon sanctuaries, especially sanctuaries surrounded by developed areas. 

Project Locations

Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary (Dartmouth), Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary (Worcester), Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary (Natick), Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary (Lincoln), Endicott Wildlife Sanctuary (Wenham), Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Edgartown), Habitat Education Center (Belmont), Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary (Topsfield), Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Marblehead), Museum of American Bird Art (Canton), Nahant Thicket Wildlife Sanctuary (Nahant), Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary (Attleboro), Pierpont Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary (Dudley), Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (Lenox), Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary (Rowley), Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary (Princeton), and Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (Wellfleet).

Project Description

Mass Audubon has implemented measures at many of its wildlife sanctuaries to address this problem.  Because invasive shrubs and vines are so common and widespread in some areas, these projects have typically been focused on clearly defined goals, such as the restoration of grasslands and shrublands and the prevention of spread into areas not already colonized.

Species targeted include:

  • Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus)
  • Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
  • Winged euonymus (Euonymus alatus)
  • Bush honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.)
  • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Common barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
  • Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
  • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

Measures implemented to control invasive shrubs and vines have included hand pulling, repeated mowing, and herbicide applications. The techniques used to control invasive shrubs and vines are selected on a site-specific basis, and a combination of measures is often employed on each site. 

Volunteers have often been instrumental in implementing these projects. Implementation of invasive shrub and vine control has been accomplished on a number of Mass Audubon sanctuaries with the assistance of funding support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife Landowner Incentive Program.